…you’re going to want to see it!
Google really gave small business owners the keys to the kingdom when they introduced Google Analytics, in what seems like digital ages ago. Google Analytics provides user-friendly, straightforward tools for monitoring the traffic and activity on web sites. At Stride, we use this program regularly to analyze our clients’ sites, understand how their audiences are engaging with those sites, and continue to make improvements for the highest level of performance.
In March 2011, Google unveiled a new version of their Analytics program and announced a gradual transition to this upgrade. Starting in just a couple weeks, Google Analytics will no longer offer their older interface, limiting users to just the 2012 edition. But fear not — the new version is not completely unfamiliar. All the same features are there, just sleeker and upgraded to be even more effective.
To help with this transitional period, we’ve outlined a few key features for the 2012 Google Analytics:
1. Keyword Clouds
While this is a new feature for Google Analytics, users will recognize it from the booming blogosphere. Keyword clouds appear as a clump of keywords in a rectangular plane, with some words or phrases in a larger font than the others. The larger font indicates the higher occurrence of that keyword being used by visitors to land on your site. For example, Stride’s keyword cloud contains words related to marketing, advertising, and graphic design (among others) and also keywords that are specifically targeting our business, like our names or location.
2. Site Speed
Google Analytics now tracks the average page load time of your web site. Site speed isn’t just important for first impression purposes; it really impacts your visitors’ experience. It also impacts your search engine optimization success. Google stated that sites that load quickly might achieve higher organic search engine rankings. Moreover, if a potential customer visits your site and it doesn’t load fast enough for them, it could cost you their business.
3. Social Media
If you’re using social media — e.g. Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn — as part of your marketing strategy, you can now see just how hard these outlets are working for your business. You can see how many visitors to your site are also socially engaged with your site (meaning they either “follow” you on Twitter or “like” you on Facebook or LinkedIn), which pages they visited, how long they visited your site, and more. You’ve known — or at least suspected — that social media boosts your online visibility and search engine rankings, but now you have the tools to really determine its ROI and how your social media efforts relate to your SEO strategy.
There are even more new features on Google Analytics that we didn’t have the time to outline here. Make one of your New Year’s resolutions to learn all you can about Google Analytics and the edge it can give your business. Read this informative and instructive article on Mashable.com or visit the Google Analytics home page.